Long before it was called re-purposing, creatively finding a use for recycled items was just common sense. My grandmother was the queen of using up leftovers, saving miscellaneous strings, rubber bands, jars, cans, bags and otherwise disposable crap. Since she lived through the great depression, she understood the meaning of getting the most for your money and not being wasteful.
Grandma's unique talent at being a thrifty saver, was obvious in her home. There were gobs of extra buttons organized in old prescription bottles, rubber bands attached to the inside doorknobs of closets, and mini hotel and motel soaps piled high in the linen closet. These are all examples of her "recycling." Open an issue of REAL SIMPLE magazine today, and you would see that re-purposing has its own section. Clearly, Grandma was ahead of her time.
One of the most memorable re-purposing projects included the sample fabric swatches from Grandpa's wholesale Men's Clothing line. When Grandpa would meet with the retail store buyers,
These winter blankets were heavy, warm and designed to last a lifetime. These were aptly called the swatch blankets and they were an exclusive production. You could save money on natural gas by turning the thermostat down at night and hovering under one of these blankets. I am sure this is what Grandma did. I, on the other hand, sleep with a window cracked open because I am always roasting.
To this day at Saks Fifth Avenue, Men's suits can be custom ordered
I told the manager of the department about the re-purposing and he thought it was awesome. Later in the day he brought me an enormous bag full of previous season swatches from Armani, Hickey Freeman and a host of other vendors. The piles of swatches had been in the stockroom and since the fabrics were discontinued, they were mine to take home. I was a bit giddy at the thought of making my own swatch blanket.
Given that I have been working crazy hours at the store, then coming home and crafting condom corsages, the swatch project is on the back burner until after Condom Couture. I can't wait to create a heavy wool blankie for Jeff. He is freezing at night and I am always hot. This could be the blanket that saves our master bedroom heating and cooling dilemma.
Re-purposing is like retail- it is in my blood.
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